Friday, January 24, 2003


I promise that sooner or later I'll stop being so pissed off, but another person has made the official LIANT shit list, for being the ultimate Babsy-Come-Lately to the Saratoga pity party.

I refer to no less a person than Representative Barbara Cubin, our favorite Congresswoman from Wyoming.

Or her press secretary, at least.

OK, disclosure time: Part of why I'm cranky is that today was supposed to be my day off as compensation for the very long hours I worked to bring you the 2003 Saratoga Ice Fishing Derby, but instead I spent most of it in my office anyway, because my enabling assistant's dog managed to get hit by a car, and both dog and EA are too distraught to make public appearances.

SO ANYWAY, I will leave it to you, dear readers, to decide if I'm overreacting to the message that greeted me on the chamber's answering machine this A.M.:

In brief, Babs' press secretary (or a lackey thereof), "Joe" saw on TV last night that something seems to be happening with our local sawmill that doesn't sound too good, and he would really like, on Babs' behalf, to get details on that, on what's happening and why and how it's affecting us (HELLOOOOOO????) for some newspaper columns and the like that Babsy Baby might like to write.

In other words, her staff has finally deigned to notice that we're in a bind here, and sees in it potential to make some political hay picking on the pro-NAFTAites and the Forest Service, holding us up as your poster children.

Of which I shall surely be one, as I am to appear this very evening on the KTWO Wyoming news giving my two cents on what's next for us in Saratoga and trying really hard not to blubber (I got to thinking about how many of my friends who are leaving, and also about certain assholes who have never, ever spoken to me on the matter but have somehow concluded that I don't give a shit about those people who are going to have to leave, and couldn't help but look a little pathetic, I guess) about "a tripod with only two legs."

God, I hope "Joe" doesn't see that.

I ask again, where were all of these people last year, when we actually asked for their help?

Thursday, January 23, 2003


So, as several members of our local Soroptimist Club are faithful LIANT readers, they graciously invited me to heat up the oil and help them boil our District Forest Ranger. OK, maybe boil is a bit harsh, but they did hope to grill him on some of the finer and scarier points of the Forest Plan…

What he said was not quite as interesting as what he didn’t say… For instance, when he was asked (by My Own Dear Personal Mom) if the closure of the Louisiana Pacific mill here in Saratoga was factored into the Plan’s calculations regarding “loss of forest-related jobs” (stated in his nifty Power Point presentation to be “insignificant”), he, um, err, changed the subject.

He also said the Forest Service “needs mills” to buy and use the trees removed in the management of our forest, but neglected to say which mills were needed, or if this Important and Interesting Fact was in any way part of last month’s deliberations between the Forest Service and the two companies (formerly) interested in buying LP-Saratoga.

And he didn’t say who was going to process what few trees are allowed to be removed. The Log Fairy, perhaps.

He also didn’t know a bleeding thing about these little “sub-nievian” voles that are being used as “indicator species” for deciding the fate of snowmobile use in the Snowy Range, mimicking the behavior of…pretty much everyone who is just asking us to take his or her word for it that snowmobiles “impact” these voles (betraying, as always, a shocking disrespect for the English language in using “impact” as a transitive verb, but as that sin is widespread within and without government circles, I can’t directly fault him for that, though I still had to snort at it. Call it a reflex. I’m only human).

Nor did he have much to say on the subject of doing business locally, after I shared with him his agency’s PR problem in that regard (our two largest remaining employers in the Platte Valley are the Forest Service and the school district, neither of whose employees are often seen shopping in our local grocery, hardware or other stores, but would most certainly have Frequent Shopper Cards at WalMart if such things existed) and encouraged him to encourage his employees to use Carbon Bucks to prove me wrong, if indeed I was wrong on this Important and Popular fact.

Meanwhile, the last long went through our mill this very morning, and my neighborhood is eerily silent without the mill’s low hum, occasional industrial creaking and cranking, and all of the other oddly soothing sounds that lulled me to sleep each night, a constant aural reminder that at least some aspect of our local economy flourished still.

No more, no more.

Now, I can’t lay this entirely at the Forest Service’s door; this is also a NAFTA issue (Canadian lumber flooding the market at impossibly cheap prices is what finally drove LP to sell off its lumber division in the first place), but I also can’t praise this agency and it’s hangers-on and tale-bearers for going out of its way to help keep this vital sector of our economy functioning, either.

I was alarmed by one other thing: When I brought out the foot-thick excretion and thumped it on the table at lunch, our guest speaker eyed it and remarked that even THAT is not the entire plan.

At least, as I remarked when the luncheon broke up, the Forest Service is doing its bit to support the paper industry.

Too bad it wasn’t a paper mill that closed down today.

Wednesday, January 22, 2003


Where the fuck were all of these geniuses a year ago when there was still time to pursue all of these brilliant schemes (which all boil down to whining to the governor and Wyoming's congressional delegation) for "saving the mill"?

Oh yes. Without even the gumption to pursue the bandwagon upon which they are jumping only now, they were waiting for it to trundle past their homes so they could embark at their leisure.

But by all means, yes, continue bitching and making inaccurate accusations at one another. We are most entertained.

Tuesday, January 21, 2003


All I have seen so far regarding the towns living under the long dark shadow of the U.S. Forest Service's PROPOSED REVISED LAND AND RESOURCE MANAGEMENT PLAN is contained in the following paragraphs, and contains some interesting omissions therein:

Social and Economic Environment

"More than half of Wyoming's population lives in the vicinity of the Medicine Bow National Forest. The state capital, Cheyenne, population 50,000, is 50 miles from the Supervisor's Office and 30 miles from the Forest boundary. Populations of other Medicine Bow area communities are: Laramie, 27,000; Casper, 50,000; and Douglas, 5700. The state's only four-year university is in Laramie, and most of the population of Colorado's Front Range lives within several hours of the Medicine Bow. Interstate 80 crosses the Forest; in fact, the Medicine Bow National Forest and its ranges are the Rockies are the first mountains encountered on I-80 by westbound travelers from population centers in the Midwest. Interstate 25 is nearby and is within sight of much of the Laramie Range."

Notice a few towns that have been omitted from this list? Any idea why?

WE'RE NOT EVEN A BLIP ON THEIR RADAR SCREENS, folks! Not even worth mentioning, even though it's OUR economy more than anyone else's that is being affected by this plan.

Cheyenne, Cheyenne made the list because, of course, that's where all the big bureaucrats are.

Laramie? Where all the Friends of the Bow are, and the University that shelters them.

Casper? Where the rest of the bureaucrats are.

Douglas? Well, they had to name something close to Thunder Basin National Grassland, which is technically part of Medicine Bow National Forest.

Saratoga, Encampment and Riverside don't even exist, so far, in this plan. Of course, I'm not done reading it and they may throw us a bone somewhere in the small print, but...

Interesting, no?

More to come, dears, more to come...